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Central Texas Cattlemen's Association v. Haedge

Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo

May 30, 2019

CENTRAL TEXAS CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT
v.
KENNETH L. HAEDGE, DALE C. TIPPIT, DENVER TIPPIT, CASE S. JONES, AND CLINTON H. SHED, APPELLEES

          On Appeal from the 52nd District Court Coryell County, Texas [1] Trial Court No. DC-15-43362, Honorable Trent D. Farrell, Presiding

          Before QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PARKER, JJ.

          OPINION

          JUDY C. PARKER JUSTICE.

         Appellant, Central Texas Cattlemen's Association (CTCA), appeals the trial court's July 17, 2018 order denying the release of a $132, 400 supersedeas bond posted by appellees, Kenneth L. Haedge, Dale C. Tippit, Denver Tippit, Case S. Jones, and Clinton H. Shed (collectively, "the Haedge group"), to CTCA.[2] We reverse the trial court's order and render the order that the trial court should have entered.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         A detailed presentation of the factual and procedural history underlying the present dispute may be found in our October 11, 2016 opinion. See Haedge v. Cent. Tex. Cattlemen's Ass'n, No. 07-15-00368-CV, 2016 Tex.App. LEXIS 11092, at *1-12 (Tex. App.-Amarillo Oct. 11, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.).

         Briefly, the Haedge group held shares in CTCA and were allowed to graze cattle in proportion to its shares on Fort Hood property under a lease between the United States Army and CTCA. A dispute arose when it was alleged that the Haedge group had taken actions on the leasehold that violated the terms of the lease and jeopardized CTCA and its member's right to continue to graze cattle on the Fort Hood property. After the Haedge group was noticed, a meeting was held at which CTCA, through its Board of Directors, voted to cancel the Haedge group's shares in CTCA. Consequently, the Haedge group brought suit against CTCA alleging fraud, conversion, and breach of contract. The trial court granted CTCA summary judgment as to all issues other than whether the Haedge group was afforded due process in the manner through which their shares were cancelled. After a bench trial on the issue of due process, the trial court entered judgment that the Haedge group take nothing by the suit.

         The Haedge group appealed the trial court's judgment and filed a motion to suspend enforcement of the trial court's judgment during the pendency of the appeal. After holding a hearing on the motion to suspend, the trial court entered an order that the Haedge group could suspend enforcement of the judgment by posting a $2, 500 supersedeas bond. In response to the trial court's bond order, CTCA filed a motion with this Court challenging the trial court's decision to allow a bond to suspend enforcement of a take-nothing judgment and, alternatively, challenging the amount of the bond set by the trial court. This Court determined that it was appropriate for the trial court to allow the Haedge group to supersede the take-nothing judgment. Haedge v. Cent. Tex. Cattlemen's Ass'n, No. 07-15-00368-CV, 2016 Tex.App. LEXIS 2311, at *6-8 (Tex. App.-Amarillo Mar. 3, 2016, order) (per curiam). However, we also determined that, to adequately protect CTCA, it was necessary to increase the amount of the supersedeas bond to $132, 400. Id. at *8-9. We based this amount on the evidence presented by the parties at the hearing before the trial court that it would cost the Haedge group approximately $66, 200 per year to lease alternative land upon which to graze their cattle. Id. We expressly stated that we expected the appeal to be resolved within two years but that, if the appeal were to fail to reach resolution within this timeframe, the trial court retained continuing jurisdiction to modify the amount of security required to suspend enforcement of the judgment. Id. at *9 n.4. The Haedge group and their surety, Insurors Indemnity Company, timely posted a supersedeas bond in the amount of $132, 400.

         Subsequently, this Court affirmed the trial court's take-nothing judgment. See Haedge, 2016 Tex.App. LEXIS 11092, at *29. The Texas Supreme Court denied the Haedge group's petition for discretionary review. See Haedge v. Cent. Tex. Cattlemen's Ass'n, No. 16-0956, 2017 Tex. LEXIS 873 (Tex. Sept. 22, 2017). We issued mandate on December 5, 2017, ordering that CTCA,

recover of and from the supersedeas bond filed by [the Haedge group], and their surety, Insurors Indemnity Company, all cattle grazing fees and costs, if any, accrued during the pendency of the appeal not to exceed the amount of the supersedeas bond, as determined by the court below and consistent with this Court's order on supersedeas dated March 3, 2016 . . . .

         Following this Court's issuance of mandate, the parties filed competing motions for release of the supersedeas bond. The trial court held a hearing on the motions on February 7, 2018. At this hearing, the Haedge group argued, for the first time, that CTCA was only entitled to any unpaid shareholder assessments that had been made against the Haedge group during the pendency of the appeal. After issuing an order that was inadvertently not final, the trial court entered a final order on July 17, 2018, that found Clinton Shed to be liable to CTCA in the amount of $7, 000 in unpaid assessments and ordered that Shed pay this amount or authorizing CTCA to obtain this recovery from the supersedeas bond. Because CTCA immediately perfected the present appeal to challenge the trial court's order, the trial court ordered that execution on its order be suspended pending resolution of this matter by this Court.

         By its appeal, CTCA presents two issues. Its first issue contends that the trial court erred in failing to enforce this Court's December 5, 2017 mandate. Its second issue contends that the trial court reached the wrong conclusion regarding the damages suffered by CTCA because the trial court improperly ignored CTCA's evidence of damages.

         Standard of Review

         A judgment debtor is entitled to supersede and defer payment of a judgment while pursuing an appeal. Miga v. Jensen, 299 S.W.3d 98, 100 (Tex. 2009). We are authorized by Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 24.4 to engage in a limited review of issues relating to the setting of a supersedeas bond. See Tex. R. App. P. 24.4. After the trial court in the present case set the bond to suspend enforcement of its judgment at $2, 500, this Court reversed the trial court's ...


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